Even a show as wildly successful as HBO’s Game of Thrones is bound to make some mistakes—that is, mistakes besides letting fans wait for two years to watch the final season! Kidding. We’re happy that the cast and crew have taken the time to provide us with the high-quality ending we deserve… or, at least, we will be, if it lives up to our high expectations! Still, while most episodes are incredible, it’s impossible that every episode could meet our standards. So we’ll ask a tricky question: which is the worst-rated episode?
Could it be the episode in which Stannis kills his innocent daughter, Shireen? Is it “Beyond the Wall,” a seventh-season episode notorious for its ramshackle construction of luck and poor character development? Is it “The Red Woman,” first episode of season six and first episode to pass beyond George R.R. Martin’s source material? Think hard, and make your guesses…
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Surprise! It’s “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken,” Season 5 Episode 6, also known as the episode in which Sansa Stark suffers gratuitous sexual violence.
The episode is an 8.1 on IMDB, lower than any of the others. It also earned a meager 55% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which is also, of course, the lowest rating of any episode. The reasons for this obvious fan disapproval are twofold.
First, fans don’t love deviations from George R.R. Martin’s beloved novels—although we hope they’re okay with whatever comes in Season 8, territory well beyond the extent of Martin’s completed work. Although he’s gone so far as to lock himself in a remote cabin in order to write more efficiently, Martin’s tactic didn’t work out. But there’s a difference between the show outpacing the books and the show disregarding the books—this episode features a major case of the latter. In the books, Ramsay marries Sansa’s friend Jeyne Poole while claiming she’s really Arya.
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The problem, of course, isn’t just that Ramsay marries the wrong character. It’s that he marries Sansa in particular—Sansa, who has already endured so much. It wasn’t a good look for the show to continually pass her around, and, while she proved her strength regardless, nobody likes seeing showrunners make a female character into a plot device. And nobody likes a brutal onscreen rape, least of all Sansa. Which the show really made sure we understood.
Oh, we understood.
Fortunately, with such high expectations for the final season, it’s unlikely that the show will make any missteps. Showrunner Dan Weiss says he hopes one question will remain in viewers’ minds after the final episode concludes: “is that an A or an A+?” But, until then, we can only think of one question: who will sit on the Iron Throne!?
Featured Image Via The Ringer.